Dynamic Performances from Easy Listening Icon
Ben Alba | Chicago, IL | 04/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The "easy listening" label which has stuck to Andy Williams doesn't do justice to his power, wide range, and impeccable control. This CD focuses on vocally and stylistically challenging singles that he recorded in the late '60s and early '70s."(Where Do I Begin) Love Story" had a tricky melody and demanding range that Williams executed smoothly and dramatically, earning him a 1971 Top 10 hit. His cover of Jimmy Webb's classic "MacArthur Park" displayed a vocal virtuosity that Richard Harris' more familiar version never pretended to have. And he ended his 1972 hit "Love Theme from 'The Godfather'" on a note somewhere in the stratosphere.With go-go beat, blazing electric guitars, and double-tracked vocals, "Music to Watch Girls By" was Andy's unlikely version of a 1967 TV commercial theme for Diet Pepsi. In 1999, thanks to its use in a British commercial for Fiat, the re-released record entered the British charts at number 9 and spawned a huge Andy Williams revival in England.Williams' tragic version of Leon Russell's "A Song for You," a 1971 forerunner to the modern power ballad, was the first single of this song to chart. It would be covered by the Carpenters in 1974 and Ray Charles in 1990 (the latter even borrowed the piano intro from Andy's version).Williams' relaxed sense of style is evident in the 1973 cover pic, which finds him jumping through a collage of photos of himself, donned in an all-black outfit."
Good collection of singles
Ben Alba | 03/19/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Andy Williams' "if it moves, cover it" philosophy meant that he recorded a lot of really bad songs in the late 1960's and early 1970's. However, he was one of the last traditional pop singers to continue to produce hits, so maybe he was doing something right. He had one of the most beautiful voices ever to appear on record, but his interpretive skills were suspect, and the arrangements often didn't do justice to his voice.But this album has mostly good and some great songs and performances. Best to my mind are the theme from "Love Story" and "Speak Softly Love" from "The Godfather" in which he hits an impossibly high note at the end of the song. I saw him do this song in concert about fifteen years ago, and it was chill inducing. The downside to the album is that there are some mediocre tunes and arrangements, but if you're a fan of good music, it's a worthwhile purchase."